Tuesday, September 6, 2011

First Day of School Brings Mixed Emotions

It was cooler this morning.  Sorta like the weather knew it was time to start school and put away all the fun and frivolity of summer.  As we dragged our second grader out of bed, fought for space in the bathroom and grabbed the kids in time for in-front-of-the-maple-tree, annual first day of school pictures, I couldn't decide if I was happy or sad to see it all end. 

I was certainly ready for structure and a chance to work in my home office without the blaring of Sponge Bob and various neighbor kids poking in their heads to ask for treats.  The house would look the same when I got back from work, as I left it in the morning (OK, I know that might not be a good thing, but come on!  What teenager decides to clean and straighten up the house while on summer vacation?).  I wouldn't be scrambling to make sure that bathing suits and towels weren't congealing into some mildew-infested mass in the nether regions of tote bags and closets.  I was ready for some normalcy in our lives.  Well, as much as we ever have it in our home!

However, this year the transition back into the school year felt different.

I've had enough children, and first days of school, to know that each new school year marks a passage of time, and bittersweet moments you can never get back. 

This year my third child is starting her senior year in High School, and this is her last "first day of school". Her older sister was starting her first day at the University, and my oldest son was on his way to work.  Only the youngest still needed a walk to the bus stop and kiss on the cheek.

How in the world did this happen?  It feels like it was just  a couple of years ago that I put my oldest on the bus for his first day in Kindergarten.

So today, I am reflecting on all the times I wish I had spent more time enjoying and noticing the little moments of each of their childhoods.  I really do wish I had cleaned less and played more.  I am sad because it has all gone very fast.

I feel fortunate to have ten more first days of school with my youngest child, and am enjoying the excitement of my daughter's senior-year experiences.  But, believe it or not, I wish I could have all of the other ones back again to do over.

So as the big orange bus drove away, I'm not too embarrassed to admit: Those were tears in my eyes.

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